winter warmth

Our family currently lives in a cold winter area. We typically have four to five months of quite cold temperatures. If there is ever a loss of power, keeping our family warm is a huge concern. Here are a few ideas that you can use to be prepared for winter temperatures:

Have everyone sleep/stay in one room - Choose a small (but big enough) room with the fewest exterior walls and/or a southern/western exposure. Bring mattresses in on the floor. If you have a fireplace or stove, you'll probably want to choose this room for your gathering spot. It's also helpful to have an adjacent bathroom. Drape blankets at the doorways and/or close any doors to contain the heat to one room as much as possible.
Pitch a tent - Yes, inside of your house! A tent can help contain radiating warmth to a smaller area. You don't have to have an actual tent to do this. Use blankets and sheets and improvise. Your kids will love this!
Store blankets - I have many beautiful quilts, hand-made by my mother. Because of this, I've always assumed that all homes had an abundance of quilts and blankets. I was so surprised to hear my neighbor describe the need to buy a blanket for a bed -- explaining that every blanket that they owned was already on a bed. Sleeping bags can be unzipped and used for blankets.
Be safe! - Never burn charcoal, use a camp stove or run a generator in any interior spaces (including your garage). You also shouldn't run a gas powered stove for long amounts of time trying to heat your house. Carbon monoxide is a huge problem in situations like this. Be smart.
Use a fireplace or wood burning stove - Often these work even when the power doesn't. Learn how to light your fireplace manually if it runs on gas.
Use a propane heater - There are several products that are approved for use in enclosed areas. Make sure to vent them appropriately.
Burn a candle - It will give off some heat -- but watch carefully and do not leave any candles burning while you are sleeping.
Bundle up - Wear socks, shoes, coats, snow pants and caps. Layer your clothes. Sleep with caps on.
Use the sun - Open your blinds to allow sun to warm the interior of your room. Close blinds or curtains when the sun is not shining.
Insulate - Use shower curtains or other plastic to insulate your windows with tape. Remember to maintain a source of fresh air and oxygen.
Invite your neighbors over - The more bodies the more heat!

[Sources: Myself, Prepare Today Newsletter]


Anonymous said...

A helpful lesson that I've learned over many camping trips: it's not wise to use an inflatable air mattress when it is cold. The air inside the mattress will get cold, and you will be surrounded by cold. It works much the same way as a bridge: bridges get icier than roads because there is cold air above and beneath it. If you can't move real mattresses, it is better to sleep on the floor than on an air mattress in cold weather.

Christy said...

I've learned that air mattress lesson too. Brrr.

jen said...

I just wanted to stop in a say thankyou for the blog you have put up here on being prepared. I've always struggled with knowing how to start our food storage and what I should store (how much..etc..etc) and your examples have helped me tremedously! Thankyou for being so willing to share this with others!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the reminder to not use air mattresses in this situation. Also, Jen - Thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

one experience we had with an ice storm was our city natural gas continued to run our hot water heater. The water came by gravity from a neighborhood Water tower. We filled 1 gallon plastic bottles with hot water and placed them in at the foot of our bed.
Also sitting in a Slepping bad with the hot water bottle bewtween your feet (advise heavy socks or shoes on) while fully dressed, keeps a person warm. Good time to play board games,read books aloud, ect, ect.
In the same ice storm we had a small toyota pickup parked facing the sun. It was a treat to go out there and "Warm up" for awhile. The sun warmed it initially then running it to charge a cell phone and the heater. Afterwards enjoying the glide back down to cooler temps.
It's interesting to find out how many things are available when you are pressed into the situation.